Samsung Electronics is preparing to enter markets for fingerprint recognition sensor chips for Smartphones that are owned pretty much by Synaptics from the U.S. and Sweden’s FPC (Finger Print Card). Experts believe that Samsung Electronics has made this decision as size of these markets is starting to grow. Other small and medium South Korean companies are also jumping into these markets one by one and this will bring changes to competition structure of global markets.
According to a related industry on the 9th, Samsung Electronics System LSI Business Department has been developing fingerprint recognition sensor chips since end of last year. It is heard that it is in the final stage of development and will be able to commercialize these chips in 2017. Its short-term goal is to supply them Wireless Business Department’s low and medium-priced Smartphones and its long-term goal is to supply them for premium Smartphones such as Galaxy S and Note series. It is also going to attract customers from foreign countries.
It is heard that Samsung Electronics’ first fingerprint recognition sensor chip will utilize a method that will measure area of capacitance and understand fingerprints. Most of fingerprint recognition sensor chips are developed and sold this way. Fingerprint recognition technology for Smartphones needs to be comprised of sensor chip, module, and algorithm. Samsung is going to develop its own sensor chip and receive algorithm from Precise Biometrics that has its headquarters in Sweden. For modules, it is going to work with its current customer in CMOS image sensor (CIS) industry.
“After Apple bought AuthenTec that had fingerprint recognition technology in 2012, Samsung Electronics has focused on applying patents in related fields to prepare for conflicts that can happen in the future.” said a representative for an industry. “A reason why System LSI Business Department is jumping into this market is because this market has high growth rate and its internal customer (Wireless Business Department) is also looking for an alternative to Synaptics.” Samsung Electronics Wireless Business Department is currently receiving fingerprint recognition sensors from Synaptics.
According to a market research company called IHS, markets for wide-use fingerprint recognition sensor chips (excluding Apple’s supplies) were worth $630.6 million last year and its values increased by 203.9% from previous year ($275 million). Currently Synaptics and FPC take up more than 90% of shares in markets. It is predicted that size of this market will greatly grow once again this year as Chinese Smartphone manufacturers are introducing fingerprint recognition technologies.
Small and medium South Korean companies are also entering markets for fingerprint recognition sensor chips. CrucialTec, which specializes in modules, established a subsidiary called CANVASBIO early this year and is working on pioneering related markets. CEO Heo Yeom of Silicon Mitus, which specializes in power control chips, established a new corporate in second half of last year and has entered into markets for fingerprint recognition sensor chips. It had been working on development process for about a year and has developed new prototype. This corporate is planning to produce its fingerprint recognition sensor chips at SK Hynix’ 200mm M8 foundry facility in Cheongju and go after Chinese markets for low-priced Smartphones.
“Although current fingerprint recognition sensor chips are mostly produced from 200mm facilities of Taiwan’s UMC and China’s SMIC, we are difficult situations as demands for consignment production are coming in all at once.” said a representative for a semiconductor industry. “If Samsung develops its own fingerprint recognition sensor chips and succeeds in commercializing them, it will help in improving operation rate of foundry facilities.”
Staff Reporter Han, Juyeop |

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<■Ranking of sales in global markets for fingerprint recognition sensor chips in 2015 ▲Sales: Finger Print Card ($316 million), Synaptics ($256 million), Goodix ($29.7 million), Cyled ($7 million), Egis Technology ($5.3 million), Elan Microelectronics ($3.5 million), FocalTech ($3.5 million), Image Match Design ($1.8 million), NEXT Biometrics ($800,000), IDEX ($30,000), others ($7 million) ▲Market shares: Finger Print Card (50.10%), Synaptics (40.60%), Goodix (4.70%), Cyled (1.10%), Egis Technology (0.80%), Elan Microelectronics (0.60%), FocalTech (0.60%), Image Match Design (0.30%), NEXT Biometrics (0.10%), IDEX (0.01%), others (1.10%) Reference: IHS>